Meaning of "wisdom is justified of Her children"? (Matt 11:19)

(Mike Morrison) #1

What did Jesus mean when he said “wisdom is justified of Her children”? (Matt 11:19) . I have never heard a very simple explanation of why he added that second sentence in Matt 11:19.

(SeanO) #2

@Mike1pam1 This passage is actually one of my favorites. It is a proverbial saying about how we can recognize wisdom. The Pharisees were very good at pointing out when people broke their rules, but very bad at recognizing true wisdom and the fear of the Lord.

Jesus came eating bread and drinking wine. John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine. But in spite of the contrast in the way they went about their ministries, both Jesus and John the Baptist were shown to be children of God through their actions. They were vindicated before God by their righteous deeds. They were both children of God - though the way they lived that out looked different.

I think a modern day example would be that not everyone is called to have the same role in the Church. One person might give lots of money to the poor or to missions, but live a life that looks pretty normal otherwise. Someone else might sell everything and go be a missionary in the jungle. But wisdom is vindicated by all her children! Both of these people are living in the fear of the Lord.

Is that understandable?

Luke 7:29-35 - All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

Later on in the same chapter Jesus teaches the Pharisees a lesson (in Luke) about wisdom through a woman the Pharisees despised. Jesus was trying to teach them that they did not honor or fear or love the Lord - they were not keeping the Shema. Their regulations and religious pride were getting in the way of true wisdom.

Luke 7:44-47 -Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.

(David Vermaak) #3

Hi @Mike1pam1,

Cross reference this passage with Luke 7.

We know Christ is talking to a group of people about John the Baptist as the prophesied messenger and type of “Elijah” who was to come and make the way clear for the Lord - Mal 4:5-6.

The Pharisees and people of the law rejected John the Baptist (Luke 7:30) as well as Christ, and Christ refers to them as children being childish in their ways, choosing not to be satisfied (Luke 7:32, Mat 11:16-17) and unappeasable.

So Christ is saying of these people in these passages, that they rejecting him just as they rejected John the Baptist.

John lived a very frugal lifestyle and they called him demon possessed.

Christ ate with tax collectors and lived what would be a very normative lifestyle as far as eating goes, and they called him a glutton and a drunkard.

What He is saying, is that regardless of the person or circumstance, they find a rhyme or reason to reject the things of God.

The “Wisdom is proved right by her deeds/ is justified by her children” is Christ saying that like a good tree bears good fruit, so to have John and Christ, and take heed of these deeds to affirm the truth as being truth, and thus of God and what was prophesied of the Messiah to come to affirm and validate Him as such, and anyone that performs the same deeds as Him and John as the true followers of God.

(Mike Morrison) #4

Thanks SeanO, I always loved that passage and how it spurs me on to strive to encourage believers in Jesus to be quick to recognize they all have a role to play in God’s plan. How wonderful it is when God works through the hands and feet of others in the body of Christ. So thankful. And thanks for the perspective. Do you think the “children” of Wisdom represent anything or anyone, or any group, or philosophical attribute? It just seems like Jesus added that curious short sentence (maybe it reads differently in the original manuscript) so that we could really get some traction with it. :latin_cross:

(Mike Morrison) #5

Hi David_Vermaak, thanks for that insight! I really enjoy the discussion!

(David Vermaak) #6

Only a pleasure brother, I made a slight addition at the very end😉

(Mike Morrison) #7

Makes sense, thank you for that David!:ok_hand:

(SeanO) #8

@Mike1pam1 It is my understanding that this statement is like a proverb. So, just like a proverb, the entire statement is generic. Kind of like in Proverbs 28:1 - “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Who are the wicked? Who are the righteous? The terms do not refer to specific people but rather to a type of person.

In the same way, in my opinion, children here simply refers to those who act wisely. The verse in Matthew says ‘deeds’ instead of ‘children’. Again, not specific deeds, but rather the type of deeds that are the fruit of wisdom.

In the context of the passage John the Baptist and Jesus are the people who are acting wisely - the ones the proverb is referring to, but the proverb itself is generic.